Monday, December 3, 2012

Case Closed (Volume 1)

Case Closed (Volume 1)
Gosho Aoyama
ISBN: 978-1591163275
Viz Media, 2011 (Originally published in Japan in 1994)

Plot Summary: Precocious high school junior, Jimmy Kudo, is obsessed with detective stories and uses his own powers of observation and intuition to solve mysteries that baffle the local law enforcement. After solving a murder on a roller coaster ride, Jimmy follows some suspicious men in black and discovers some illegal behavior—all to have his reputation be his downfall as the men drug him with a mysterious chemical. When Jimmy wakes up he discovers he is now trapped in the body of his six-year-old self. Taking on the pseudonym of Conon (after Conan Doyle) Edogama (after Edogawa Rampo) he moves in with his best friend and love interest, Rachel, and with use Rachel’s father’s connections as a former cop and private investigator to hopefully figure out who these men in black were. Until he can find a clue he’ll still try to help solve tough cases.

Critical Evaluation: A super popular manga (and anime) that began in Japan in 1994 and is coming up on its 45 volume, Case Closed is a classic series. It might surprise people that the series is actually for older tweens and teens because the covers of a cute elementary student are deceiving—Conan actually deals with some serious crimes that are gruesome (the boy who got killed on the roller coaster ride was decapitated with a piano wire—and we see it in all its gruesomeness—at least 1990s style). New readers might also find the manga art style a little jarring because it is really a solid, classic style—it’s dirty and gritty, there are no big boobed, wide eyed people here. It actually is a little refreshing to me because it reminds me of my favorite manga series by Ben Dunn called Ninja High School, which began in 1986. The stories are engaging and are broken up into one or two crimes a book all while Conan is trying to find clues to his condition. Give this to fans of Sherlock Holmes, mysteries in general, and graphic novels. Each volume also ends with a profile on a famous literary detective.  

Reader's Annotation: Meet Jimmy Kudo, teenage detective extraordinaire. There isn’t a case he can’t solve until some mysterious men in black dose him with a mysterious liquid and Jimmy wakes up in the body of his former six-year-old self!    

Author Information:  Gosho Aoyama is a Japanese manga artist. He is best known as the creator of the manga series Detective Conan (known in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom as Case Closed). He has also designed the human characters for the children's anime series, Hamtaro. When Aoyama was in elementary school his painting of "Yukiai War" won a competition and was displayed at the Tottori Daimaru Department Store. Aoyama had to read manga secretly because his parents were strict and told him that "nothing good can come out of reading manga" and he almost gave up his dream of being a manga artist and decided to become a art teacher instead and enrolled in Nihon University College of Art. In 1986, Aoyama joined a comic contest for freshmen students. He won the contest, and it became a stepping-stone for his career as a manga artist and author. Case Closed started publication in 1994 and is currently up to 46 volumes (Gosho, 2012).

Genre: Mystery

Curriculum Ties: Literary ties with real detectives in literature that are profiled at the end of each volume (Sherlock Holmes, Lupin, Perry Mason, Hercule Poirot, etc.)

Booktalking Ideas: Read the short intro case and how Jimmy solves it.  

Reading Level/Interest Age: 16+

Challenge Issues: Occasional scenes of partial nudity, fan service elements seen commonly in manga (large breasts, upskirt views, etc.), brutal crime scenes depicted, etc.

Challenge Defense: If this book were challenged, I would make sure the library has a Challenge Defense File ready for such a situation. Inside the Challenge Defense File, librarians and the public could find:

·        A copy of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at
·        A copy of the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at
·        A copy of the library’s own selection policy (my library, the La Vista Public Library, has a policy but it is not online so I can’t link to it as an example).
·        A copy of the library’s citizen’s complaint/reconsideration form (my library, the La Vista Public Library’s, form is called the City of La Vista Service Request form).
·        Copies of reviews—both good and bad—from reputable library and publishing services to justify why a book was selected for inclusion in the collection. These include not only reviews from such journals as School Library Journal, VOYA, Horn Book, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, but also any mention of books on YALSA lists and other copies of articles about any awards or nominations such books may have received.
·        Include a short rationale file for other coworkers so if the librarian in charge of selecting materials is not available when a challenge occurs the other staff members have some information to go by (the rational would include such information as a short summary, what could be challenged, reviews, awards and nominations, etc.)
·        Include for staff members a copy of “Strategies and Tips for Dealing with Challenges to Library Materials,” a document written by the American Library Association. Make sure that staff reviews this document periodically so they are prepared and know how to face such situations. (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at

Reason for Inclusion: Case Closed is one of the long-running manga series (currently up to 46 volumes) that doesn’t get bogged down in repetitions. The best mystery manga out there. Stories are on par with the level of Holmes or Poirot. Would purchase entire series for manga collection.


Gosho Aoyama. (2012). Retrieved from Detective Conan wiki:

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